Research and innovation: towards a new Euro-Mediterranean partnership for sustainable and inclusive growth

Research and innovation are key elements of the European Union's cooperation with Mediterranean countries, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has told the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Research and Innovation Euro-Mediterranean Conference, opening in Barcelona today.
Facing common challenges such as climate change, water and energy, "it makes perfect sense to tackle these issues jointly, and to bring our scientists together so they can find the answers we need," she said in her speech. "But there is also a strong economic rationale to work together: investing in and cooperating on research and innovation promotes growth and jobs, and improves people's lives across both regions."
The conference brings together more than 300 participants from over 30 countries to define a medium- to long-term agenda for Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in research and innovation.
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said a lot had been achieved since the European Neighbourhood Policy was launched in 2004, listing bilateral Science and Technology Agreements signed with Mediterranean partners, as well as impressive achievements under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research.
But the events of the Arab Spring "called for a new vision for Cooperation in Research and Innovation between the EU and the Mediterranean countries, which would contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth in the region, and create the conditions for developing a new cooperation partnership."
"In terms of research and innovation, the focus is on working towards the development of a 'Common Knowledge and Innovation Space' that would pull together policy dialogue, national and regional capacity-building, cooperation in research and innovation, as well as greater mobility for our researchers," the Commissioner said, stressing the role that science, research and innovation play in economic and social well-being.
She said that Horizon 2020, the EU's programme for Research and Innovation for the period 2014-2020, would be the principal instrument for supporting Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in research and innovation. "With an overall budget of €80 billion over seven years, Horizon 2020 will present a wealth of opportunities for researchers in EU and Mediterranean countries to work together. I hope that many of you will take part."
Looking ahead to the two days of discussions, she said the renewed partnership should be based on the principles of co-ownership, mutual interest and shared benefit, and should be comprehensive, covering the whole chain from research to innovation – or from lab to market. "Our agenda should mobilise all the relevant stakeholders and participants, such as universities, research centres, industry, organisations that promote innovation, financial institutions and investors."
Ahead of the conference, the ENPI Info Centre has prepared a press pack outlining ongoing cooperation in the field between the European Union and its Mediterranean partner countries. The press pack looks at research and innovation as a key axis of cooperation, with particular attention on the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7), as well as the opportunities available for Mediterranean partners at a regional, bilateral, and individual research level. (ENPI Info Centre)
Read more
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn speech
Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Research and Innovation 2012
ENPI Info Centre – Press pack: Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on Research and Innovation
Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in research and innovation – frequently asked questions
ENPI Info Centre – From solar cars to high-tech archaeology: new publication highlights Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in innovation and research
ENPI Info Centre – FP7 – a directory of all the projects involving Mediterranean partners

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